While flowers have always been a sign of beauty and new beginnings to most cultures, their significance to South Asian culture is incomparable. From being etched into the walls of royal forts and temples to being a key aspect of auspicious occasions, they are indispensable. While times may have changed, flowers are of natural beauty that twine itself into our lives. When I came across the profile of Karan Nagpal (called 8.00 am - his birth time), it was like stepping into a flower mandi - an explosion of colours and textures, and almost as if the bouquet of varying fragrances were palpable as you scroll through his feed.
As a floral designer, Karan under his brand 'Your Flower Boy', has created everything from individual arrangements to intimate events to massive weddings. The 24-year-old floral designer from Delhi calls himself an accidental florist when talking about his venture into the field. While he simply knew he wanted to be in the hospitality industry, he says that flowers called to him, as floristry was something that he was by on a personal level. While doing his Bachelor's at Delhi University, he opted for a diploma in Wedding management and design. Under this, floristry was a discipline that he studied and upon graduation, he started his practice with event companies. In the 2.5 years since he has continued to work in the floral industry. Today his brainchild Your Flower Boy deals in floral styling for all sorts of events and bespoke arrangements. We create anything and everything with flowers.
Floral Design For Modern Times
When talking about the actual work he is doing these days, Karan says that consistently experimenting is something that he is attempting. Most significantly, he is experimenting with practising floristry. While oasis - the plastic base that soaks up and retains water - is the base for most arrangements, it is not reusable or biodegradable. Karan is experimenting with varying techniques and methods to curate arrangements without using them. He went on to say, “I think the consistency of always experimenting with distinct dry flowers and foliage or even untamed natural material for that matter and the urge to outdo myself is the key to the place where I am right now. One has to have patience and passion for why and what they are putting into their arrangement and how sustainable it is on a practical level.” Adding to the conversation about experimentation, he added that he loves using local foliage and flowers in his arrangements. There have even been times when he has ventured into nearby farms at events to get local grass to be used in his installations. But his most recent obsession is adding corn (yes, the same one we eat), to his arrangement.
In talking further about why he does what he does, Karan was quick to say that it all comes down to the fact that he loves what he gets to do. As a job that requires 24/7 attention and a lot of hustle, he said that it can occasionally get overwhelming for him. But his objective with his work is something that keeps him going. In his own words, his objective is “to make people feel something through my work, and my words. I want my designs to narrate the of the story for themselves. Every arrangement or set-up has something to tell. It tries to capture characteristics of our natural world.”
The Art and Craft of Floral Design
But of course, running a venture like Your Flower Boy comes with many challenges to weather. According to Karan, they seem almost endless at times. This ranges from the pricing and design charges that vary from designer to designer to bad weather conditions. Like any creative field, Karan was quick to add that there are sleepless stays at sites day and night until the project is completed. But despite the challenges that come with his work, he has been part of wonderful projects that loved working on. Rajkumar Rao and Patralekhaa’s wedding in 2021 is one that he considers special because that was his first independent project through an event firm as a floral designer and it helped him to broaden his horizons. But a recent favourite is what he calls the ‘At Sunset’ themed mehendi event that he recently undertook. He went on to describe how “the inspiration behind the colour theory was very close to me. The inspiration behind the entire mood board was the nature of sunset and Indian . We mostly used Indian-grown flowers and terracotta vases made by local potters.”
In talking about craftsmanship and the way floral design is perceived, Karan added that for him the practice is much more complex. He went further to say, “to me, flowers aren't just 10 roses or tulips put together in a vase and call it an arrangement. I perceive flowers as art. A meditation. A therapy. There is a concept and reason why I’m putting and using a certain flower. While conceptualising, each flower speaks a different language and a mood. Once I weave the story, it makes its way to someone’s special occasion and sometimes it just sits in a corner wanting to be loved.” But to be a designer in India, where everyone knows someone who does tenting and flowers locally is a hard deal. With priority being given to venue, tenting and food, decor often becomes an afterthought. How Karan and his venture differentiate itself is by looking at each flower as being as unique as a bride and groom, lovers, family and society. He added, “With the increase of technology and accessibility to global culture, individuals and families are wanting to create their version of a fairy tale. A story which does not just act as a backdrop but creates a magical space which welcomes everyone and brings people together.”
A Slow and Present Practice
On a personal note, Karan feels that a daily struggle as a homegrown floral designer creating a modern firm with an innate Indian identity is the negotiations. When he designs arrangements, he is expected to be an accountant and business person. He gets clients from different walks of life that demand different floral set ups 'inspired' by Pinterest. They want the exact colour, design and flowers within their budgets. But the reality is a lot more complicated than they can understand. According to Karan, "As a florist, I find it extremely difficult to explain to clients the correlation between climate, flower availability and the need to be creative. I spend a lot of time educating people, about why we don’t use certain flowers and why they are expensive." He added, “I wish that more people understood that I am not just sending them flowers, I need to know them and they let me into their vulnerable space. I listen and turn them into beautiful . However, I wish more people would encourage this space, and let flowers do the talking.”
In winding down our conversation, Karan let me know about how he is simply seeking to stay in the present rather than restricting himself in search of ‘scope’. With Your Flower Boy, he hopes to keep experimenting, failing and enjoying the simple marvels of nature and evolving along with it. Beyond flowers, he harbours a deep love for nature and things, people and places. He started his Instagram journey simply by posting about these small moments of everyday life that he found beauty in. He continues to embrace and capture those slow moments through his work and in his life. As an old-school romantic, his wishes are simple - taking it easy, one step at a time. Having moved into a new space, he is working to make it a home with his flatmates and on a professional note, he hopes to do work that changes and creates a positive difference in the floristry world. But most importantly, Karan says, “I would want to make sure wherever I go, whatever I do, I want to do it with all my heart & passion.”
If you want to stay tuned to Karan Nagpal and his works, you can follow him
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